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Encourage and don’t impose

In a situation where there are a number of legitimate options to choose from, we should be careful not to impose what we consider as the best option, if the other options are good enough and can be chosen due to some legitimate reasons also. We need to be open to all legitimate options, because there are certain advantages when there is variety and plurality of options unless uniformity is truly called for.

Besides, what may be considered as the best option can vary according to the specific conditions of the parties involved. Some parties may consider as the best option the one that has the best technical qualities, or the most beautiful, the most convenient, the most practical, etc. There can be a number of criteria and standards to indicate what would be the best option for them.

What should rather be done is simply to encourage rather than impose the choice of a particular option to the parties involved, explaining well why it is the best and worthy to be chosen by everyone.

The more this particular option meets the criteria and standards that people have with respect to what they consider to be the best, the more chances it has to be accepted by them. We should just work on how to be most convincing in suggesting a particular option.

In the case, for example, of suggesting that a particular uniform be worn by the students of a particular school, the school authorities may emphasize the fact that such uniform would easily identify them as students of such a school and would come out cheaper since the students need not have to worry about getting so many clothes to wear for the whole school year.

Besides, they can also suggest that there is a certain beauty and sense of equality when uniforms are worn. But then again, there can always be exceptions to this rule due to some legitimate reasons that should be respected.

I myself prefer to wear a sotana or a clerical attire most of the time so people can immediately identify me as a priest. It’s not because I want to enjoy some special treatment from others and some privileges and entitlement.

It is more because even if I am just an ordinary mortal, I cannot hide the fact that as the Catechism teaches, my ministerial priesthood is essentially different from the common priesthood of the lay faithful, and such distinction should also be shown externally also for a number of practical purposes. (cfr. 1592)

I know for a fact that in our country, thank God, many people when they see a priest would feel good and would be reminded of their spiritual and moral duties. Unlike in other countries where the clerics are bullied.

Of course, I have no problem with other priests, who think otherwise. They must have their reasons. And I respect them and their reasons. But they should also learn to respect mine. This is what is called openness and tolerance in a world marked by variety, diversity, plurality of ideas, styles, etc.

Let us remember that the tendency to impose things on others can clearly indicate in the ones imposing the presence of pride, conceit, superiority complex, self-righteousness, the inordinate desire to dominate, etc.

Besides, this tendency to impose is not anymore in step with the temper of the times, given the way people, especially the young ones, are nowadays.*

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